Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry and Bright!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, friends!

As you well know, I am not one of those bloggers who can juggle.
You know the ones...balancing work, home, blogging with such agility that the world stands in awe.
That's not me.
I am not an organized individual, as anyone who knows me can attest.
I am a seat of my pants, catch as catch can kind of a gal.

I'll show you several examples later in this post.  But for now, you're going to have to trust me.
We did manage to deck ye olde halls in time for Christmas! However, taking photos has just recently become an option.
That's why I'm here, the day after Christmas, with my blog.
Happy to be here, though!

Dining Room buffet...

Family Room mantel...

A bronze bust of Santa brings cheer to a corner of the Family Room.

It was very sunny and warm today.  The sun streaming through the windows was such a gift!  It doesn't make for good pictures, though.

A little better!  Gracie's playroom loft is up and to the right.  You can see the glow of her pink Christmas tree!
The miniature children's wingback chairs in the family room are from Restoration Hardware, by way of Craigslist!

I still have not hung the burlap drapes over the openings into the Music Room and centered the Craigslist tapestry.  Thinking it's not going to happen in 2014.  I might surprise myself, though!

On the other side of that opening, the Music Room is coming along! The burlap curtains are piled on the settee!

The Aubusson rug was an ebay find but quite a bargain.  I sharpened the image so you can see the detail and color more clearly.
Happy Birthday to me!

I hung this Moravian star in the sunroom knowing we would also be using it as a Christmas tree star.  We actually have eight hanging throughout the house!  I love the way they sparkle!


Handsome Husband surprised me with roses before the holidays...

The arrangement brightens up the back staircase that leads to the kitchen...

The Breakfast Room got a dash of Christmas cheer!  You know Handsome Husband can't wait to come down for breakfast in the morning!  

...and yes, the table is new!

I found the table and eight chairs for $100 on Craigslist!

Solid wood, painted with milk paint.  Heavier than I even imagined.  Gracie and I helped the owner bring it up her basement stairs but it got stuck and we had to run to her neighbor's house for help!
Her neighbor and his visiting father not only dislodged the table, but also attempted to take it apart for me so I could put it in my car! 
There are good people in this world.  Brian and his father spent over an hour trying to help me.  I am eternally grateful!

It didn't work, though.  The leaf mechanism was very complicated. 
 In the end I hired a moving company.  I solicited a mover on Craigslist, which I was loathe to do, due to myriad negative experiences.

But this time was GOLDEN!
Anyone in Illinois looking for a mover or a handyman, painter, etc.?
Look no further!

JC Enterprise to the rescue!

Here is his Facebook page.

You will thank me.

He picked up the table and had it delivered within two hours of our call!  The trip alone was over an hour!

I wish you could see the pretty windows, rather than a blob of light...but you get the idea...

A stocking for every member of the family...
Gratuitous picture of Mabel...

Even the refrigerator got a dose of cheer!  Gracie and I made the glittered doves last year.
This Sub Zero was purchased on Craigslist for $300!

Far right...on the floor...laundry basket.  I was going to retake the photo but I didn't want to get off the couch.

Detail of cherub ornament on Craigslist vitrine...

I painted the vitrine with Annie Sloan Paris Grey and gold metallic craft paint.

If you recall, this is what the vitrine looked like when I found it on Craigslist...

The French mirror I found on Craigslist is bedecked with a gilded magnolia wreath.

I have more to share with you but I will save it for another day...

There you have it...our family's day after Christmas decorations!

Hoping your day was Merry and Bright!



Monday, December 15, 2014


Milagro's Story...

This Summer, Gracie, Napoleon our Puggle and Tallulah our English Bulldog and I were driving behind a car that was going 25mph in a 55mph zone on a road leading out of the city into the country.

 I put my blinker on and tried to go around the slow driver. He sped up and matched my speed. I tried to meet the driver's eyes and I realized he was laughing

It was so frightening! I didn't know what to do! We were fast approaching a car coming in the other direction.  There was traffic behind his vehicle and there was no shoulder to pull over onto.

Out of nowhere, a small brown fox sprinted into the road, passed in front of the car we were attempting to pass and directly in front of my car.

 He looked me right in the eyes.

 I slammed on my brakes as hard as I could but I still hit the little angel. I looked up and the car coming toward us did not realize were were going in the opposite direction. 

He had just enough time to swerve around.

I was heartbroken. We parked on the side of the road and walked over to the broken body of the fox and cried over the beautiful life that had just been extinguished...and cried and cried.

Days later, I was about to drift off to sleep when I awoke with a start.

 That fox looked at me. I know it. I saw his eyes. Wild and feral animals do not make eye contact with humans. 

Also, he was running through an empty field at the speed of light, like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, as if he were late for something.

Foxes are typically nocturnal hunters.

Why was he running so fast?  Where was he going?

It may sound crazy but I truly believe that little brown fox saved our lives that day by sacrificing his own

If he had not run in front of our car, forcing me to slam on the brakes, I am certain we would have hit the oncoming vehicle.

 We named him Milagro, it means miracle.

We have also built a garden in his honor.  I will share photos soon.

Thank you, Milagro.  I will never forget you.



Thursday, December 11, 2014

Crowning Touch!

Our front entry is actually a hallway.  When we were house hunting, a huge entry was on my list but the houses with huge entryways were short on other details that we I desired.  In the end, a big kitchen won out over a huge entry!
The battle to design the entry is ongoing, as you well know.

I recently came upon a stunning pair of Louis XV fauteuils with chocolate colored velvet upholstery on Craigslist for a steal!

They truly complete this vignette!
The awkward wall angle makes it difficult to get a perfect photograph!

The gold coronas in my Craigslist urns are the crowning glory!

I found the crowns on one of my favorite sites, The Kings Bay.  They also sell on ebay as purblebombauctions.  
The crowns are made to hang from the ceiling and have clips to hold photos and mementos below.

However, I only saw this...a golden crown on par with those I covet from Tara Shaw, though at prices that would allow me to stay married!

I never thought I would see the day that I was actually happy with the entryway!

I absolutely love this composition!  The chocolate brown of the upholstery is very soothing against the grey and gold, as well as the aged silver patina of the urns. The deep, rich brown brings out the rust tones in the aged iron urns.   

I feel as if my decorating has evolved since I started this blog, thanks to the inspiration and valuable input I receive from my blogmates. I have learned so much on this journey!

Thanks to all of you for helping me to make my house a home!

Your friendship is truly the crowning touch!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Louis XVI Secretary Patina Tutorial

I am finally finished with the Louis XVI secretary I found on Craigslist!

This is the original Craigslist photo.  I cannot believe I found this before anyone else did!

This is a truer representation of the finish.  It had a shiny topcoat, identifying it as a newer reproduction.  The manufacturer is Henredon, from the Villandry Collection.

I took this photo first thing this morning.  The secretary is in the Music Room.  It covers the opening between the Music Room and the Family Room.  The tapestry panels cover the "window" openings.  Everything in this room is from Craigslist except the grotto stool and a few accessories!

The finish took a long time.  It required many coats of paint and distressing.

A closer view shows the grey patina...
This is also a reenactment of what I was doing during the whole process.

The interior is painted with Annie Sloan Aubusson Blue, including the glass shelves.


It seems to be a different color depending on the light. A most desirable characteristic!

This is my favorite project so far!  The exterior is Annie Sloan Old White, followed by sanding, then more Old White, a random wash of pure white acrylic, then more Old White, Clear Wax, then Miss Mustard Seed Linen Milk Paint, followed by distressing using a hammer, scraper, chains and finally, a mix of Miss Mustard Seed Linen and Typewriter Milk Paint as a "glaze".

The Aubusson also takes on different tones in the light.  The Clear Wax brings it to life!
I painted the interior glass shelves as well.  Be certain to allow at least a day between coats when you are painting glass!  That is why this project took so long!  There are three coats of paint on the interior!
I may glaze the interior with Annie Sloan Duck Egg and Dark Wax but I am going to wait at last a month to allow the glass shelves to cure!

The Process...

First step: Annie Sloan Old White, two coats...

Sand and distress...then paint with Old White again, random pure white acrylic, followed by Miss Mustard Seed Linen.  It gives the appearance of paint wearing down, rather than being abraded by a sander.  The more random the better. However, be sure to distress the areas of higher use, such as around handles, at the feet, door corners...any place that tends to get more use.  The feet would have been abraded over time by brooms, mops, contact with shoes, etc.

I took a hammer and pounded, scraped and dragged it in the surface of the paint.  I used a scraper and a length of chain to distress it further.
As I pounded and banged I soothed the dogs and cats...
"BANG,!  BANG!  BANG!!!!"
"Sorry guys.  It's okay.  It's just Mommy."
"No, no, no...come back, Atticus, it's's okay sweetie."
I would hold the hammer in front of their noses.
"Look!  It's a hammer.  It's just a hammer".
Then I would pick up each pet individually, soothe them and ply them with treats.

Needless to say, that part took a long time.

I then applied a mixture of three parts Miss Mustard Seed Linen to one part Typewriter and five parts water to make a "glaze". I brushed on the glaze and wiped it with a dry cloth.
I call  this my "What have I done?" moment.  It passed!
As an aside, when I ordered the Milk Paint, I rushed.  I thought Curio was grey.  It isn't.  It's brown.  However, the Linen and Typewriter did the trick.  If I did this again I would buy the Trophy.  

I went over the area with a wet cloth to give a random, time-worn patina. This shows the door before I went over it with the wet cloth.
Sorry for the poor lighting. I did this at night.

The finished result is a finish that moves with the light.

I love it when things go my way!

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section and I will answer them there!



Sharing with:
Kathleen at The Dedicated House, Anything Blue Friday!


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